XTC – “Living Through Another Cuba” (1980)
Like “Enola Gay,” XTC’s “Living Through Another Cuba” is another ’80s track that looks to past atomic era events to illuminate their current moment, this time the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Choosing one of the most precipitous chapters of the Cold War was an effective choice and leads up to a later lyric. When Andy Partridge sings “Russia and America are at each other’s throats,” it highlights another common thread amongst ’80s nuclear anxiety songs, especially those sung by British (or at least non-American bands): the idea that here the rest of the world was, stuck on edge in between two superpowers toeing closer to a confrontation that could yield global destruction. Soon after, Partridge barks “If we get through this lot alright/ We’re due for a replay, 1998.” He might’ve been 20 years early on that one and missed one of the primary players, but he turned out to be dead-on about the cyclical nature of people losing their damn minds.